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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Meadow S., English Teacher at Mt. Blue, November 20, 2009

   The last teacher I visited on Friday, was Meadow.  She was reading MacBeth with her students.  This was the same group I had observed earlier.

   Students had been asked to read a meaningful section of text the night before and come up with three questions to bring to class.  Meadow began the class by passing out large note cards for the  students to write their questions on.  Next she divided the students into pairs.  Students then met and shared questions by: 1. swapping note cards, 2. writing answers to each others' questions, and 3. discussing answers and rationale for answers.  Part of this discussion included what the author of the question was thinking of when writing the question.  Meadow circulated around the room and listened, offering direction where needed.  The level of conversation was high.  This group had been working on interpretation and inference for some time and were doing a great job!
   At the end of the discussion, Meadow asked each pair to write three new questions based on their discussion.  Due to the nature of the conversations, the questions were higher level.  Students were then regrouped and followed the same process.
   Finally, the group shared their understandings - sometimes challenging, sometimes agreeing, sometimes adding.
   The level of meta-cognition was excellent.  Students were able to explain clearly and concisely what their thinking was around the text, the questions, and the answers.  What a difference in just a few months!  Bravo!

1 comment:

michael_henry said...

Cool idea. I was searching for things to do along this line because I was assigned Brit Lit this year due to Mary Sirois's retirement. I was an English major in college but have been teaching Social Studies during most of my career. I just finished Macbeth. I did do character illustrations and put them up on the screen.